As trial enters its fourth week, shocking testimony in Trump tax evasion case

The accountant who handled tax returns for some Trump Organization executives told the jury that former US President Donald Trump reported $900 million in operating losses in two years.

Donald Bender of Mazars USA LLP, who prepared Trump’s tax returns for years, was the first defense witness in the tax fraud trial of two of the former president’s companies, Trump Payroll Corp and Trump Corp.

As the trial entered its fourth week in Manhattan state court, prosecutor Susan Hofinger asked Bender on cross-examination if he recalled that Trump had reported losses in some years.

“Remember Donald Trump suffered nearly $200 million in losses in 2010?” he said, to which Bender’s response was, “Yes.”

In his questioning, he continued: “In 2009, did Donald Trump suffer losses of nearly $700 million?”

The witness replied: “It looks real.”

The New York Times had previously reported that Trump had suffered business losses, but Bender’s testimony was the first public confirmation from a professional who assisted or helped prepare Trump’s tax returns.

When the plaintiff asked witness Binder if he prepared tax returns for Donald Trump for free, he shrugged and shook his head, saying, “No.”

He added, “The comeback has been amazing, really amazing,” and waved his hand above his head, “una tale height”, according to “Bloomberg” and seen from “Al”.

Hofinger showed Bender a set of spreadsheets run by Trump companies that showed more than $1 million in bonus paid by various Trump-owned entities to executives such as Allen Weisselberg, Trump’s chief financial officer, who claimed to be independent contractors.

Bender said the first time he saw those documents was when prosecutors showed them to him last year.

When the actor asked Binder how he would react if these documents were shown to him at the time of their preparation, he said: “I could have a heart attack … I would be very concerned, because they were underestimating their income by these amounts. ”.

In his questioning, he continued, “What would you have done if you had known about these spreadsheets or had been provided to you?”

Bender replied, “I was about to have a serious conversation with the client.”

Defense attorneys have sought to point out that Bender, who worked as the company’s outside accountant for 35 years, failed to protect the companies from Weisselberg’s tax fraud.

But during his interrogation, Hofinger tried to prove that the accountant had also been deceived by Weisselberg and indicated that the finance director had received a paid apartment in rent in addition to auto luxury.

“We did our due diligence,” Bender said, “I didn’t blindly accept the reports. When I saw that the financial reports were adequate, we expected him to stick with the deal and be honest.”

Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty to the tax fraud charges, testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial.

He also told the jury he was hopeful in a more lenient sentence of just 100 days in jail instead of the maximum of 15 years in prison.

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